Drinking, Driving and the Holidays: The Severe Consequences under BC’s Tough Drunk Driving Laws

It’s holiday season and most people plan on attending a holiday party or two (or more). It has become customary for party goers to partake in some (or more than some) drinking during this time. Even those that don’t ordinarily drink alcohol may find themselves caught up in the holiday cheer and may take a swig of spiked eggnog here and there.

Of course, most well intentioned and conscientious people know that drinking and driving is wrong and (assuming you BAC is over the legal limit) illegal. However, most people may not know the very deleterious legal consequences that may befall them if they are found to be intoxicated by alcohol while driving a motor vehicle in BC.

Under the current iteration of the Motor Vehicle Act (the “Immediate Roadside Prohibition” or “IRP” regime), if you blow a “fail” on an approved screening device (“ASD”), you will be suspended from driving for 90 days, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days at your expense, the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles may force you to take the Responsible Driver program (about $880.00) and have an interlock device installed in you vehicle (about $1700.00) before you get your license back.

If you refused to blow in an ASD, it’s an automatic 90 prohibition, vehicle impoundment for 30 days at your expense, and you may have to install the interlock device and take the Responsible Driver program.

If you blow a “warn” (between 0.05 and 0.08), you could be suspended for 3,7, or 30 days depending on your record.

That’s right, don’t assume that you are home free if you blow under 0.08; you can still get suspended under the current law if your BAC is at least 0.05.

Depending on your body mass index, that could be as little as two drinks.

Aside from all of that, drinking and driving remains a criminal offense and you could be charged criminally and, if convicted, be required to pay a fine, complete a one year driving suspension, take the Responsible Driving course and have an interlock device installed.

If you receive a Notice of Prohibition under the IRP program, you only have 7 days to appeal, or else you are stuck with the consequences.

Contact Info

209-15240, 56th Avenue,
Surrey, B.C. V3S5K7

Phone: 1.604.372.0253

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